Traveling solo is a trend that’s taken social media by storm. Whether they’re seeking inspiration, thrills, or just some quality alone time, solo travelers use social media to stay in touch with family and friends – and to post about their adventures.
In the latest mini episode of Julius Profiles, Danny interviewed Juliette Leavey and Alexis Madison from Deutsch agency, about their passion for solo travel. As both consumers of travel content and marketers themselves, Alexis and Juliette offered a unique perspective on a facet of the travel industry that is booming on social media.
Takeaways from this episode include:
- Why people love traveling alone
- How brands can involve themselves in solo travel
- The importance of digital communities and information sharing
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About our guests
Alexis Madison (@AlexisMadison20) took the least predictable path into advertising. In fact, she pursued not one, not two, but six different majors before settling on Information Management and Technology. One consistent thread for her during that time was social media. After taking a class on how brands can use social platforms to reach their audience, she interned with Little Tree Freshener and was a part of the content team that ran the social channels for her university. With five years of experience under her belt, her interests have led her to discover a new found passion for audience behavior and creative strategy.
Juliette Leavey (@julietteleavey) is the Director of Digital Strategy at Deutsch agency, working across brands like PNC Bank, Cetaphil, Differin, ACUVUE, Newman’s Own, ABi, and Reebok. She knew she wanted to work in PR since she was seven years old, and followed the path through college, internships, and ultimately a career. During her time in PR, Juliette fell in love with digital advertising, and eventually migrated from PR into advertising. She loves the dynamic, fast-paced environment of digital advertising because it pushes her to keep learning and stay on top of her game.
Key episode insights
Why people love traveling alone
Though solo travel is by no means new, social media has highlighted its prevalence and elevated it to an attainable experience. Although only 11 percent of travelers are solo, there’s been a 134 percent increase in solo travelers since 2008.
Solo travel means something different to everyone. Some go for the thrill of adventure, while others go to disconnect and relaxation. Alexis, for example, enjoys finding new, exciting experiences in unexpected places:
“The atypical or unexpected experience even in an expected place is what keeps travel fresh and alive. I can always do what everybody else does, but if I can put my own spin on it and make it unique, that's the ticket.”
And some solo travelers look for adventure anywhere they can get it, whether it’s at the temples of Machu Picchu or nearer to home. “People want to travel for adventure and not necessarily the adventure that 10,000 other people have had before. It's not necessarily, I am hiking Machu Picchu, it's more so I'm looking to try something new,” said Alexis.
Finding unique experiences is not only good for the soul, it’s good for social media content, too.
How brands can involve themselves in solo travel
Solo travelers rely on social media for a lot of things – recommendations, travel tips and tricks, and connectivity while abroad. There’s a lot of opportunity for brands to brush shoulders with solo travelers, before, during, and after the travel experience.
Juliette pointed out that with all the planning that goes into solo trips, brands have a unique opportunity to inject themselves into the process. “There’s a really big market to also talk to solo travelers as they're planning these trips. There's such a behavior that I've noticed from my friends who solo travel that budget every month that they're not traveling so that way they can make the most of those trips.”
Beyond that, Juliette pointed out that brands have an excellent opportunity to make it easier for solo travelers to maintain their lifestyle while abroad. “For example, skincare brands are coming out with more travel size products so that you don't have to check luggage. There are a lot of ways to tap into this behavior without necessarily relying on the moment of booking the trip and then being there.”
The importance of digital communities and information sharing
In the age of influencers, brands don’t just want to provide for their customers, they want to engage with them. While influencers often lead the charge with reviews, trip guides, and gear suggestions, there’s a lot of valuable information that circulates throughout the solo travel community.
Some of the most popular meeting grounds for solo travelers are private Facebook groups, where individuals share their experiences, stories, and suggestions with a closed and moderated community.
Alexis, a member of some of these groups, described their role in sharing both information and inspiration:
“I'm a part of a Facebook group that's all about women who want to go abroad and travel, whether it’s permanently or semi-permanently. When you're in there constantly listening to women who are like, ‘Hey, I went on safari for three weeks just to have a random adventure. Let me tell you why you need to…,’ it makes it feel far closer than it actually is.”
The groups aren’t just open to everyone, though. “People are really protective over the groups. A lot of them have questionnaires to fill out before you can join. They don't want people in there to muddy the feed,” said Alexis.
While these groups aren’t necessarily there for brands, there are still opportunities for them to interact with them. Whether they use influencers to speak on their behalf (perhaps even nano influencers) or create the groups themselves and leave their hands off, there’s ample opportunity for marketers to interact with solo travelers on social media.
The Julius Profiles podcast covers all the touchpoints in the influencer marketing industry, including the marketers, influencers, and consumers like Alexis and Juliette. We dive deep into the stories behind the hashtags – with insights you won’t find anywhere else. Subscribe now!
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